A Newly Uncovered Letter From 1955 Reveals Queen Elizabeth's Love of Chanel No. 5

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Letter Reveals Queen Elizabeth's Love of ChanelBettmann - Getty Images
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  • A young Queen Elizabeth had a fondness for a particular perfume: Chanel No. 5

  • A newly revealed letter shows the young monarch thanking her husband's chief of staff for gifting her the scent

  • The letter is part of a museum exhibit about the work of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

Since Queen Elizabeth II's passing late last year, little details have come out about the woman beneath the crown, including facts and anecdotes that flesh out who Elizabeth Windsor was when she wasn't in the public eye.

The latest little tidbit about Liz comes from of a new exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum devoted to a different influential but controversial figure, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel.

As Tatler reports, a highlight of the V&A entitled "Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto" sheds light on a favorite scent of a young Queen Elizabeth.

One of the exhibit's artifacts is a letter dated April 26, 1955, written by the young queen on Windsor Castle stationery. Addressed to Prince Phillip's chief of staff, Frederick Arthur Montague Browning, the Queen thanks the man she refers to as "Dear Boy" for the gift of a bottle of Chanel No. 5:

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A Chanel number 5 perfume bottle from 1921 at the "Gabrielle Chanel, Fashion Manifesto" at the V&A museum in LondonJUSTIN TALLIS - Getty Images

"As usual, you have discovered just the very thing I particularly wanted, and I want to thank you very much indeed for the birthday present of the Chanel scent.

I am already using it and, I hope, smelling all the better for it!!

It is kind of you to think of me in this way.

With again many thanks.

Yours very sincerely,

Elizabeth R."

The letter connects three famous women in a way. It's Queen Elizabeth remarking on a perfume by Gabrielle Chanel, which had been given to her by Major Frederick Browning, the husband of Daphne du Maurier, the author of the acclaimed novel Rebecca.

Interestingly, du Maurier's Rebecca wasn't just the inspiration for the Best Picture-winning Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name, but also served as a "source for a Nazi spy code," according to the British Library—which means there's a good chance ol' Coco Chanel may, in fact, come across du Maurier's novel in the course of doing all of that spying for the Nazis she got up to.

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